Schoolboy coaches guide players on relationships
WHILE THERE might be no official programme to help high school footballers deal with the popularity that comes with playing the sport, local coaches have taken on the task of helping to guide their players on how to handle the advances they may get from their female peers and older women.
Nigel Webb, football coach for Holy Trinity High School, says in cases where the boys are facing issues that they cannot handle on their own, the school's guidance counsellor, teachers and coaches are always on hand to assist. The main issue, he said, is "... the girls coming to distract them".
As for the boys being in relationships with older women, he said this was no longer a problem.
Thing of the past
"It used to be a thing in the past, but the last time I heard about it was seven years ago," he said, noting that the importance of going to classes and maintaining good grades is stressed at every training session.
As a former footballer, Manchester-based Sam Blacksays he can relate to what the young men are going through, as he too courted older women during his high school years.
"Every season you have a player or two in relationships with older women," he told The Gleaner, noting that it was not widespread on the team during his five years of coaching.
He, however, noted that it was near impossible to tell these young men not to have relationships.
Instead, "you have to remind them to focus on their education and the football so that they can achieve the optimum out of both so that they can use it for higher learning or a contract," he said.
But the situation was much worse at another Corporate Area high school, with the coach even refusing to speak anonymously, on the basis that it would help to identify his inner city school. While it is not the case now, the coach did disclose that in the past, a significant percentage of his team fathered children and/or were in relationships with grown women. Luckily, based on his own intervention, this is no longer the case.
Meanwhile, the situation is a bit different in some schools. Alex Thomas, Wolmer's Boys' under-16 coach and assistant coach for the Manning Cup team, could not confirm whether or not any of his players were in relationships with older women. However, he said there are no fathers on his teams.
"That's not the case at Wolmer's. You won't find kids with babies. They are more thinking about education and furthering their career to get a scholarship to go overseas or wherever it takes them," he said.
Thomas could not identify a programme that deals specifically with these issues, but said the guidance counsellor, who is more experienced with these matters is on hand to deal with these issues as they arise.
Name changed on request.